They Shoot Oscar Prognosticators, Don't They?
Handicapping the Tech Races, Part II
By J. Don Birnam
February 9, 2017
We continue with our handicapping of the Oscar categories, this time by completing the picture of the “below the line” or technical races. My thoughts on the other tech races are here, while analysis of the foreign, documentary, and animated films is here.
Last year, I did poorly six weeks out in these categories, predicting a split of the awards that did not materialize when Mad Max essentially swept these races. My final Oscar predictions where much better, because all the guilds had spoken by then, which shows that these races sometimes are in flux.
This year the question in your mind in each race should be: can La La Land lose and if so, to what and why? Unless shown otherwise, my approach will be to assume that it is the presumptive winner. Could other things win? Absolutely, but as last year’s results show - and indeed the results in tech races in many years - sweeps are getting more and more common here.
Thoughts? Comments? Here I am as usual: Twitter and Instagram.
Best Visual Effects.
Of the races we will look at today, this is the only one in which La La Land is not a contender. Indeed, there is no Best Picture nominee in this category for the second time in three years, as big budget/comic book films are starting to dominate here. We know that a Best Picture nominees tends to win if present here, though that did not happen last year when Ex Machina surprised everyone.
Anyway this year Doctor Strange, The Jungle Book, Rogue One, Deepwater Horizon, and Kubo and the Two Strings face off. What I’ve noticed in these races when a Best Picture nominee is not in, is that they are snobby and will go for the more “prestigious” of the films. That seems to knock out Deepwater from the outset, and arguably also Rogue One, which could not triumph here last year despite the goodwill The Force Awakens had, not to mention five nominations.
If we are speaking of most impressive effects, the win would have to be Doctor Strange’s, but there is room for error here. The facial effects in The Jungle Book are astounding, and the film is perhaps the most widely respected of the bunch. So too is Kubo, though I do not know if it’s going to wow people outside of the branch with animated visual effects - what are those, anyway?
It’s a tough one, and I may still change my mind, but I’m going to go for quality for now. Check back later, though.
Will win: Doctor Strange
Could win: The Jungle Book